(January 2, 1865 New Haven, Connecticut – August 21, 1943 New Haven,Connecticut) was an American author, critic and scholar. He taught the first American university course on the modern novel. He was a well-known speaker who drew large crowds. He served as a professor of English at Yale University from 1901 to1933. His works include: "Advance of the English Novel" and "Essays on Modern Dramatists."
William Lyon Phelps ... once gave an examination in English literature just before Christmas break. He asked his students to discuss poet Gerard Manley Hopkin's "sprung rhythm" technique. One young manhanded in his exam reading, "Only God knows the answer to your question. Merry Christmas." Professor Phelps returned the paper after Christmas with the note, "Happy New Year. God gets an A-you get an F."
DonnaE. Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services
North Carolina State University Commencement, Raleigh, North Carolina
May 20, 2000
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